American Idol Finalist Rickey E. Smith Jr. Dies In Car Crash

American Idol finalist Rickey E. Smith Jr. died in a car accident in Oklahoma, TMZ reported.
Smith's car was struck head-on by a driver going the wrong way. According to Oklahoma's KFOR, the crash took place around 3 a.m. Smith, 36, came in eighth place during the second season of Fox's hit singing competition. Tributes are coming in from his fellow Idol contestants. Ruben Studdard, who won Smith's season of Idol, posted a remembrance of Smith on Instagram. "As I sit here in utter disbelief about the fact that you went to be with the Lord. I think back on all the fun times we had," Studdard wrote. "How we set up for hours in our room in the Idol Mansion talking and listening to music. How much fun we all had on our very first tour. You were the heart of our season and the true definition of a real friend.. I will miss you my Friend RIP Ricky Smith. I'm sure you're in heaven singing you're heart out!!! [sic]" Second-place finisher Clay Aiken wrote about Smith's death on Twitter:
Back in 2008, USA Today profiled Smith, who returned home to Oklahoma after failing to launch a music career in Los Angeles. At the time, Smith was working at a sports bar. "I wasn't ready to accept the fact that I had to come back and give up music," Smith told the paper. "I've made peace with it, but it's still frustrating." You can watch one of Smith's Idol performances, below.

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